by Jessica Ryan ‘19
I cannot explain the sudden wave of panic I get when the automated email from Gordon College Public Safety states that I have received yet another parking ticket. The little green slip of paper displayed on my windshield makes my blood pressure rise. Let me tell you why:
According to Chief of Police Glenn Decker, there were 1,514 citations issued for the fall 2016 semester. 807 were with a fine, 705 were warnings and of the 807 citations, 92 had the fine dropped due to a granted appeal. Parking tickets this spring semester alone total 1,475. So far, 872 have a fine attached.
Assuming each person pays the hefty fee of $25, Gordon College has gained about $20,987 in parking tickets alone this spring semester. Combining the two semesters of parking violations together, about $41,975 before appeals, is going into Gordon’s “general funds,” which a portion goes into the colleges total revenue budget.
There are many options to diminish the distribution of parking tickets on campus. One solution would be to allow underclassmen to have more accessible and convenient parking. “When I am coming back from work, that is off campus, I am always cutting it close to come back in time for basketball practice” says Meghan Foley ‘20. “Instead of Woodland, I park in Bennett and when I see a ticket when I come out, it’s so annoying.”
Another option is to allow students a certain number of parking passes that can be used throughout each semester that allows them to park anywhere upperclassmen can park. However, even upperclassmen have difficulty parking around campus without getting a ticket.
Sierra Flach ‘17 explains one of her many parking ticket incidences. “I come back from work in the middle of the day and can’t find parking on the hill. I have class in Jenks in 15 minutes but can’t park behind Jenks, next to Barrington, or in the chapel loop. Even Ferrin is sometimes full and parking in Woodland is not an option because of class.”
Leah Snavely ‘17 suggests, “People who live in Nyland, Fulton, or Tavilla could be given first rights for hill spots and then juniors would enter a lottery.They could even make hill spots more expensive.”
Other colleges, one of them being Carroll College, a Roman Catholic liberal arts college allows students to park in lots such as faculty/staff lots, reserved spaces, and other lots that would otherwise be monitored from 7am to 5pm on weekdays. If Gordon were to open lots for a certain period of time, students returning to campus could go straight to class without having to trek from Woodland.
Let’s face it, we can dodge, appeal, and sneak our way out of getting a parking ticket, but at the end of the day the lack of convenient parking for students is aggravating. “If I see an open spot in the Ferrin lot, why shouldn’t I park there?” says Meghan Foley. “I already pay enough to go to this school.” She adds, “If there are no spots in Ferrin, then so be it, I park in Woodland.”